Multiplayer-Only Games Shouldn’t Cost $80

Multiplayer-Only Games Shouldn’t Cost $80
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Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Rainbow Six Siege. It’s really good, but I’m not feeling very optimistic about its long-term prospects.

Siege, like any multiplayer game, will only thrive if it can form a lasting community of players. My pessimism regarding its chances to do so is the same pessimism that was eventually borne out by similar games like Titanfall and Evolve. It’s also the same pessimism I feel about Star Wars: Battlefront, to an extent.

All of those games launched at a traditional big-budget video game price point of $80. Like the other ones, Rainbow Six Siege — despite having an invisible wood splinter of a single-player component — is mostly a competitive multiplayer game.

Old-school publishers like Ubisoft, EA, and 2K are employing a distinctly old-fashioned way of doing things, especially in this era of free-to-play multiplayer juggernauts like League of Legends and DOTA 2 — or even $20 content-stuffed shooters like Counter-Strike. In the long run, the $80 price point doesn’t help publishers or the players they’re catering to. It stops communities from growing, which makes it damn hard to build anything that will last.

Meanwhile, other big-budget games offer rich (or at least existent) single-player experiences in addition to rich (or at least existent) multiplayer options. See: Grand Theft Auto V, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted, and even some online games like Destiny or various MMOs.

The problem with approaching multiplayer games in this way tends to compound on itself. Because of those initial price barriers, games’ communities crawl out the gate small and emaciated. When new players decide to see what the (sadly minimal) fuss is about, they have trouble finding matches to play in — especially as time goes on, and especially against players of their own skill level. So, even curious newcomers don’t stick around long.

On top of that, the $80 entry fee is usually only the beginning. Lately, publishers have been trying to get the best of both the old-school single-transaction retail world and the brave new microtransaction world, and the result can feel like a raw fucking deal. Let’s look at Star Wars Battlefront. It’s an almost-multiplayer-only game that launched at $90 on Origin, and it’s got a $60 season pass attached to that like a Snowspeeder cable to a pair of clumsy AT-AT legs. $150 for a single game, up front? That’s a hell of a commitment, given that the servers could be ghost towns by next June.

Same thing with Rainbow Six: $80 for the game, and $40 for a season pass, along with an (optional) money-based unlock system. On top of the added cost, season passes often gate portions of the community from playing on certain maps, fragmenting already shrinking player bases and making it harder to find matches. Wanna keep up with what the community’s playing? Better get ready to spend, spend, spend, and even then, your next multiplayer lobby could be barren

The downsides to this approach (still) don’t end there. In a free-to-play “games as service” environment like, say, League of Legends, at least the stuff you buy is yours to keep — well, until the servers forever shutdown or the sun explodes, anyway. In many $80 triple-A series, there’s a solid chance a sequel will drop in a year or two, requiring you to a) lose your precious progress and start mostly from square one, b) spend $80 again, and c) pony up for another one of those damn season passes.

I’m not saying that DLC is inherently bad; far from it. The practice of selling post-release content — the rain of DLC, season passes, and microtransactions — can be crucial to the ongoing funding of big game studios. But by holding to outdated methods of releasing games and selling DLC, and in particular by sticking with that $80 price of admission, publishers risk doing serious harm to the long-term viability of their multiplayer-only games. That really sucks. I want more people to play Rainbow Six Siege with me, but I’m already finding it hard to convince them.


    • Yeah, I mean, I didn’t buy any of those games (except Evolve). But, if you shop around, you can get the CD Key for less than $40 on release.

      • The article is complaining about the price of these multiplayer-only games relative to single player games. That pricing them lower than single player games will get more people to take the risk, which in turn will improve the odds of a community of players forming that you can actually play against.

        If the store you’ve found that’ll sell you Rainbow Six at that price will also sell you other new release big budget games at that price, then the fact you only spent $40 is irrelevant.

        • I agree with the sentiment of the article, but when it claims these games cost $80, that’s complete shit. That’s picking a higher bound.

          It’s also worth noting that games are cheaper than ever. In 1994, I was getting SNES games that cost $100 a pop. Adjusted for inflation (1.025^21) x 100, today those same games would cost $168. Instead, adjusting $40 into 1994 prices = $24.

          Similarly, some multiplayer only games i’ve gotten far more game time out of than any singleplayer game (i.e. NS2 sits in my steam library at nearly 300 hours played). The reality is, if they choose to price games this way, they will live or die by it. I’m okay with that. That is the world we live in.

          • Yeah, games are literally a quarter of the price in most cases. Insane to think that in todays dollars we used to pay close to $170 for a single game.
            Now I can pick up games brand new for $40 to $50, nearly a quarter of the price.

          • It’s pretty awesome. I wait for sales and just clean up for a fraction of the price. Even on release now you can get games for $68 from target and big w.

          • I sometimes wonder why so few people notice this when complaining about current game prices.

            A triple-A game now costs $60-100 at a mainstream retailer. In the mid-90s, that price was pretty much the same, but our dollar now is worth a lot less than it was then, and generally speaking you get a lot more game for your money.

            That’s entirely ignoring the existence of cheap bundle deals and indie titles.

            The surprising thing is that game costs haven’t increased more, since the sales of the base platform haven’t increased all that much (if at all). We can put that down to vastly improved tool sets and increased sales from cross-platform development and near-saturation of the market.

          • Cost of development has actually increased a fair bit per title, it’s also that the number of people who buy games has increased substantially over the past 20 years, making it viable.
            The thing is we also get more for our game than we did in the 90’s.

            The number of gameplay hours in the average SNES title is far below some of the average time in current gen games, but all gamers do is complain about being nickle and dimed.

            Reality is we have more choice and content at a cheaper price than ever before.

          • It’s certainly increased for the big AAA titles, but those titles are anticipating sales of 10 million plus copies; that’s lead to things like the complaints about the Tomb Raider reboot selling too few copies (around 5 million?) from Squeenix.

            But it is true that the tools have improved such that you can now make a better game with the same money; I don’t know how big that factor is, but the fact that you still get some pretty large titles coming from the likes of Paradox and Stardock and making a profit shows that there is some middle ground.

            A few years ago some people were predicting the death of the middle ground (those games falling in scale between AAA and indie.) That hasn’t happened, fortunately IMO.

        • I think he makes a good point. If all games are cheap then it’s less of an issue. I’m not too concerned when my $5 gloves wear out after a few months. But if I pay full price for premium gloves, I’m pretty annoyed when they don’t last as long as any other premium product should.

      • All consumers should be shopping around, and by that, they can all get the $40 price point. Some choose not too, and they do pay more. That’s okay.

        • I think you’re entirely missing the point of the article and a whole bunch of comments by a wide, very wide margin.

          • I don’t disagree with the main point of the article. I disagree with it saying these things cost as much as they do, which is blatantly misleading. Games are really cheap these days.

            Similarly, people can vote with their wallet. Publishers don’t make decisions about business models without thinking these things through and having done analysis as to what maximises their profits.

          • It’s not a case of saying “they cost so much on the shelf!”

            It’s the actual value of what’s in the package. That’s a completely relevant and applicable thing to say.

            Look at for instance, the value of GTA V versus the value of SW Battlefront or Rainbow 6? Then the cost of the season passes on top of those two games vs GTA’s value?

            Wether or not you found cheaper sites which sold say, all those games to you for 60 or even 50 AUS each one cannot deny that the actual value of those games is imbalanced in terms of content.

          • Value differs by person. These companies know how to maximise profits. They’ve been doing it a while. They target whales because that’s where they make their money.

          • I agree. As long as there’s a market for pricing them like this, then why would the company change?

            Definitely not because the consumer wants them too. That makes no sense when they’re making good sales. It’s just good business to charge the highest price the market will bear. This has always been the way.

          • I think it’s a safe bet to say that Counterstrike has made more money than Siege ever will, at around $20 on a normal day, no gated DLC content to split the playerbase, and with some skins selling for $400 US and up.

          • The article is making the point that online only games like Rainbow 6 cost the same as games with full single player offline campaigns (like COD Blops3 for example)

            It doesn’t matter if both games are $40 or both are $80, the point is that they are charging the same as title that has inherent value (i.e. you can still play and enjoy it) even if the servers or company go belly up.

          • It’s not misleading. You’re relying on the competitive nature of retailers to determine what the value of a game is, which isn’t what’s being called into question. What’s being called into question is what the publisher/developers think what the value of a game is.

            Yes they have thought it through: publishers are telling us that if we really love Star Wars Battlefront them we’ll pay up to $150, and that if we don’t then they misjudged appeal of Star Wars. We’re saying they’re short-sighted and haven’t considered the importance of what’s on offer for that value, nor the longevity of that value.

          • Except that they only need to make their money once and they are pretty good at maximising revenues. The reality is, they wouldn’t behave this way if it didn’t make them the most money. Whether we like it or not.

          • But I do love star wars. And I haven’t bought the season pass. And I’m not going to unless I see some value in it. Certainly not at the moment, since they haven’t even told us what will be in it.

            So I’m voting with my cash. That’s all you can do as a consumer.

            And BTW… “WE’RE saying?” I didn’t realise this was a petition. Or a group discussion. We’re all individuals floating in a sea of information here.

          • But I do love star wars. And I haven’t bought the season pass. And I’m not going to unless I see some value in it.

            Right. That’s smart. I take that to mean you’ve bought SWB? You’ve recognised the value and those who don’t, (or have bought it and now in retrospect) have given criticism of what’s offered. Arguable though, EAs value proposal has worked only so far as the main game, and not the Season Pass yet. That works very well for EAs metric: they think what they’ve offered is ok, and are now testing very hard with their DLC.

            And BTW… “WE’RE saying?” I didn’t realise this was a petition. Or a group discussion. We’re all individuals floating in a sea of information here.

            C’mon man it’s not very hard to see the rhetoric of my argument. Of course everyone’s unique but how can we talk about the greater community without being able to involve in discussion about our point of view. We (a humans) do that all the time. My “we’re” are clearly anyone whose opinions are aligned with my own. And that makes sense to talk that way when the conversation topic is about what we (in general) think a multiplayer game is worth, and as can be seen in the comments here that there a more than just me who agree that it’s not worth so much?

          • Haha. No offense man @snacuum. I just hate it when people make arguments and say things like “we” this and “we” that when it’s just some rando on a soapbox. It’s a commonly used technique to make an argument stronger “It’s not just ME saying this, there’s a whole GROUP of us here”.

            Just a pet hate. No problems though.

    • $40 au, on consoles? I doubt it. The article is more about the fact that publishers refuse to lower their prices, even though they are offering less content.

      • Couldn’t respond to your other comment, so I will here.
        I agree, CS:GO has made shit tonnes more money for Valve than rainbow six ever will, purely from selling it cheap and taking a % of the transactions on skins.
        That said, CS:GO has made more money than most games.
        The sad reality is, the publishers now often want their cash up front, to break even and then some, then they don’t care. It’s on to the next product.

      • Couldn’t respond to your other comment, so I will here.
        I agree, CS:GO has made shit tonnes more money for Valve than rainbow six ever will, purely from selling it cheap and taking a % of the transactions on skins.
        That said, CS:GO has made more money than most games.
        The sad reality is, the publishers now often want their cash up front, to break even and then some, then they don’t care. It’s on to the next product.

  • You paid $80 for Battlefront yet Kotaku, the same site you write for, had numerous articles on where to find it for around $60.

    Not saying I disagree with you. No game should be that high.. Multiplayer only or not. You just have to look for alternative ways to obtain it. Some might say “don’t buy from overseas – the Aussie economy suffers!”. Well they fucking brought it on themselves, didn’t they?

    Maybe if every fucktard gamer did the same as me, retailers would realize they aren’t getting any sales and drop the prices. But until then, I’m afraid you’re stuck paying full ticket price sunshine. Because if they keep getting suckers paying $80 then by all fucking means they will keep charging $80.

    • Yeah I really couldn’t give a shit if the Australian games economy dies when they’re trying to charge me more money for the same product.

    • Talking about how to be a savvy consumer and wrestle with retailers on how to get a good price is not the point of this article and it isn’t relevant that you can do better. The point is to discuss the baseline worth that the creators are attributing; what the publishers tell all the retailers to sell it at when there are no discounts or haggles to be had (RRP or MSRP)

      In this case were all meant to be considering that where most games AAA games are set at $60 US MSRP ($100 AUS RRP) on release, that multiplayer only titles that have nothing else to offer shouldn’t be set the same price, and should instead be much cheaper – then you could go to whatever retailer you want and get it even cheaper!

      • Yes, but at the same time it helps to present an argument with accurate facts. Which is why people are mentioning the $80.
        Similarly, companies and consumers make their own judgements regarding price points. Vote with your wallets and they will stop pricing these goods this way. Instead of buying it and complaining.

        • Voting with our wallets does nothing. Most publishers these days appear to have an ‘all or nothing’ approach. They want you to buy their game, on release, at the price they say, and if we don’t? Then we ‘never wanted it anyway.’

          • Pretty much. That’s how they make the most money. If we don’t want to pay that much, then we don’t buy it and we do something else which we find to be more value for what we spend and we all go on being wonderful utility maximizing consumers.

    • It doesn’t truly work that way. While X amount of copies get sold to retailers who mark it down to 60 or whatnot, the publishers get their cut still. The retail sector still makes whatever on it, but those initial copies are still sold.

      The only TRUE way to effect change, is *not* to buy it.

    • You paid $80 for Battlefront yet Kotaku, the same site you write for, had numerous articles on where to find it for around $60.
      ..And the URL for this post is /multiplayer-only-games-shouldnt-cost-60/

  • I forked out good cash for the original version of Destiny, then got screwed over by the Taken King DLC that wanted almost $70 for me to upgrade my ‘base’ version. Sorry Bungie, no deal.

    • How much did you play vanilla? I’m curious on your perspective, as I’ve seen this a lot.

      On my side, I ended up buying OG Destiny in Jan this year for close to full price, put something like 50 hours into it over a few weeks, then put it down (didn’t even get the DLC in dark below.) Then when September came around, I was like “yeah, I could go for some more Destiny”, picked up the Taken King full price, played it for about the same amount and put it down again – had a great time with it and moved on. I’ll probably end up doing this each yeah as I enjoy the game quite a bit, even though I never get into the high end stuff like raids. So from my perspective I got my money’s worth from both, no harm no foul.

      Just curious with this – what makes this model, being base game then big expansion a year later for a lot of money, different to say COD’s yearly release? No shots at you or anything, your opinion is totally valid, I’m just curious on your side because I personally never even had that thought here 🙂

  • I hear this argument quite a bit and I must say I disagree. At the end of the day a game’s value is determined by you, so other people’s thoughts will obviously vary. I seem to get more playtime and value out of a multiplayer only game these days than I do 99% of single player titles.

    R6 Siege has been great fun, and sunk a few hours into it already. I’ve got no issues with the cost or the fact there’s no single player, because I know I’ll get my money’s worth. R6 Vegas 2 was the same. Would’ve dumped several hundred hours into it, exclusively competitive multiplayer and multiplayer terrorist hunts.

    Another prime example is Battlefield 3 and 4. I’ve sunk hundreds and hundreds of hours into those on multiplayer – and while they have a single player mode, it was probably only 5 hours of playtime for each. It was an afterthought.

    Anyway, why does the lack of a single player campaign mean it should be cheaper? Honest question, not being facetious.

      • I’d be interested to find out how true that is. Surely the bulk cost is getting the core of the game together – engine, textures, the whole dealio – and that applies to both multiplayer and single. The only difference I can see between multi and single is the map design – ie, size, layout for both, etc – and the scripting/voice acting for story. The multiplayer stuff I assume would be a lot more balance/testing heavy, in terms of server stability, how well it runs on the network side – more than single player of course. I don’t mean more work altogether.

        Not saying you’re wrong, either. I’d be genuinely interested find out what the cost and manpower breakdown would be of making 20 multiplayer maps and tuning multiplayer, versus a 5-10 hour single player campaign, and it’s VA, maps, etc. Using FPS as the example, of course – other game types would be very different I assume.

        • I think he’s probably wrong. Story, voice acting, etc. is marginal compared with the 100’s of coders, programmers, animators, developers etc. that goes into making the core components. It would be interesting to see a breakdown though.

    • It should be cheaper because getting a single-player campaign used to be the norm. It served many great functions: training for multi, contextualised the lore, play it when internet was down, play it when the servers are down (very important), and my personal favourite – actually be a great game in its own right instead of a bunch of matches with bots.

      So now they expect us to buy their multiplayer games with essentially less content, at the same price? Value in hindsight is great, but the value proposed before purchase matters to me; I expect more when I see that price-tag. If I know then, by word-of-mouth or demos or whatever that I won’t be getting more, then I won’t buy and that their problem, not mine.

      • But isn’t that the point, though? Just because you don’t think a multiplayer game is worth $80, doesn’t mean it isn’t. It clearly is to a lot of people.

        I think it helps to rationalise it by thinking of them as a different type of game. There’s single player only games, games with both, and then multiplayer only. It all comes down to what you want out of it.

        To me the biggest downfall of a multiplayer only game is it has a definite expiry time. Which I can see why people wouldn’t like that. But for me, most multiplayer only games offer several times more playtime, and thus value than their counterparts. This helps me with the idea that it’s going to be unplayable once the community is gone or the servers are down. But again, I interpret it as a different type of game.

        Besides – most multiplayer only titles these days are FPS games – which the single player mode in most cases has been secondary to the multiplayer. So even if it did have single player, how many times are you likely to replay an FPS campaign – say CoD, R6, whatever? They’re probably ten hours at best in most cases, and then that’s it. The real replay value lies on RPG or adventure games for me, which generally have no concept of multiplayer whatsoever – thus, a different type of game.

        • Value is subjective which is why you will have many people with different opinions. The argument (for me at least) is about offering vs price point and not about passing on savings to the consumer or value from a play time perspective. For me they are offering less of the experience they used to, but still wanting consumers to pay the same price point.

          To use an analogy.
          Imagine you go to a restaurant for a burger. For $10 you get a burger, fries and a coke. You have been getting this for years, as long as you can remember, but then today you go in and their meals are now burgers only and no coke and fries, but they’re still $10.

          Its still a burger which is what you wanted, Its not like the fries and Coke are equal to the burger as they were just a small addon. But still I enjoyed them and it made it a complete package.

          Now its just a burger you feel like the same value your used to just isn’t there anymore and it doesn’t feel fair that they just stopped giving you the rest of your meal but expect you to pay the same price?

          • For me it’s more going to one place for a burger, fries and coke for $10, then the next day going to another place and getting three sushi rolls and a coke for $10. I go to both places for entirely different things. One is not better value than the other. It depends on my mood, and what I want at the time.

          • Yeah but what about when you go to that place and they tell you:

            “Hey! You need to be a McValue member to buy our Coke! To be a mcvalue member you need to pay 5 more dollars upfront and you’ll have access to the coke and fries. But not without the membership. Delivery time of coke not guaranteed.”


            “Hi it’s great you bought the sushi, but the avocado and teriyaki chicken you like in it now must be obtained seperately but only if you purchase the Sushi-train seasonal membership option! Delivery time of avocade and chicken not guaranteed fyi.”

          • You’re talking about microtransactions and season passes, etc from the sound of it. The analogy was about whether multiplayer only games were worth more or less than their single or single/multi counterparts. Totally different discussion.

          • Same thing with Rainbow Six: $80 for the game, and $40 for a season pass, along with an (optional) money-based unlock system. On top of the added cost, season passes often gate portions of the community from playing on certain maps, fragmenting already shrinking player bases and making it harder to find matches. Wanna keep up with what the community’s playing? Better get ready to spend, spend, spend, and even then, your next multiplayer lobby could be barren

            No, it’s part of the actual article… an article about how a multiplayer game that charges premium price is no longer value for money, especially when it goes on to keep charging for extra things.

            What I was talking about, was season passes. It’s a clear analogy. You can’t access something until you buy a pass allowing you to, when you could previously.

          • @weresmurf

            But other, non-multiplayer only games don’t do season passes, microtransactions and DLC? It’s kind of a moot point. Just about all types of games do it these days. Not just multiplayer ones.

          • That comparison doesn’t work when the greater argument is about the taking away, not the addition of choice. Yes you’re right the multiplayer game is different than the single-player game, but the multiplayer game is also worse than the the previously sold multiplayer game with some nice single-player content.

            Different things are not better value than another, the better thing is worth more than the other.

          • I think you missed my point as your analogy is more inline with Playing FPS today and RPG tomorrow. The type imaginary food you decide to get today, what ever it is, you no longer get the Coke or fries anymore (the added value items if you will). All you get is the main part (the burger or the sushi … or the Taco whatever you feel like that day) but it still costs the same as what it used to to get the complete meal.

            This is about changing a preexisting Value proposition from what was the accepted norm up till that point. They (the games industry) have set a value proposition that A+B = $C (or MP+SP=$80). Now they are changing it so A=$C (or MP=$80).

            While some like yourself will transition quickly and accept the new value proposition, others will not. It will take time to see if that change is accepted by the general community or if the market rejects it.

          • Oh, I got your analogy, but I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

            But yeah, you’re right – like I said to @snacuum, the market will adapt either way.

          • It more is like at one place you get burger, fries, sushi and a coke for $10, and at the other place you just get the burger and the fries for $10, with the drink costing extra, but you have to pay for the coke now, and it will be available at some time in the next few months, and may or may not be a coke.

        • It’s based around consensus: you and a lot of people may think a multi-only game is worth $80 but I and even more people think it’s only worth $40 since of course, my set of people includes yours.

          We all think things are worth different values, but if you want to sell your product to all of those people you need to find that sweet-spot where we can all agree that it has enough value.

          Most sports and racing games I’ve played even have some kind of reasonable single-player mode. And they’re the ones with the most excuse to not include one! They don’t need to contextualise their game since it’s ‘just a sports match/race’ whereas lots of others genres use the single-player to get players to buy into the general conceit of the gameplay. I’m not saying Counter-Strike needs a story-mode to help me understand why the CTs and Ts are fighting (Oh shit no!) But if they charged $60 for it, I’d feel like something is missing… much like can be said here with Rainbow Six and Star Wars Battlefront. In this case SW doesn’t need contextualising, but by consensus: we all mostly agree it’s light on value for money.

          • I can see where you’re coming from. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree, I guess.

            The comments on the article show people have very different opinions on this stuff, which is to be expected. I guess at the end of the day, you buy whatever you think is the best value for you. If it turns out there really are more people not willing to pay $80 (or full price, whatever it may be) for a multiplayer only title, then the market will adapt to suit.

          • I wasn’t trying to brow-beat you. Of course we value differently. I am very cynical; in my experience, when the market adapts, it has always adapted away from what I want.

          • No, don’t misunderstand me, you articulated your points in a civil and polite fashion and I appreciate that. It’s all good. Just figure we’ve reached a point where we both disagree.

            Yay for polite and reasoned discussion! \o/

          • That’s because the consumer behaviour isn’t following your expectations. As long as people continue to pay they will have no motivation to change their methods.

      • I think you’ve nailed it – Titanfall found this out the hard way – they put outa full priced MP only game with a Season Pass (with just map packs)

        Now let’s break that down – I was happy they didn’t have a single player campaign – I think the single player campaign was the worst thing about Battlefield 3 and I haven’t even selected it from the menu in Battlefield 4. There are a lot of games I play just for the multiplayer but nothing pisses me off more than Map packs as paid DLC – way to segregate your community.

        Titanfall learned this the hard way and eventually made all the DLC maps free! Which is probably a first in the history of map packs!

        Star Wars Battlefront For full price I’m okay with – but another $60 for a season pass whose content is unclear- that’s taking the piss.

        Rainbow 6 is even weirder – they’ve said that all the maps would be freedom what exactly is their season pass paying for? They’d be better off charging $25 for the base game then charging for operatives as DLC and rotating the available ones.

        I believe the next Titanfall will have all maps free but sell customisable Titans – that’s the way to go with these sort of games

        You know how games are sometimes described as being ‘easy to pick up, difficult to master’? Rainbow 6 also suffers from the problem of being difficult to pick up

        That makes potential customers much more wary of paying full price up front

    • When you are making a Single player game you may need;

      Writers, Actors, a Script, AI (lot more). You need to focus on narrative coherence, pacing, progression, character development.

      But most of all a single player campaign is what creates the “mindset” (contextualizing the lore), and without that it’s just an empty shell where you and I have to create the fun.

      I disagree with you, and I think that game publishers know how much money and time they are saving by not having a campaign and still selling OK.

  • Value for money – Does this cost represent the potential value for money as I perceive it?
    Multiplayer games usually, for me anyway, have a much higher playtime than solo games. So I could justify 80 beans on a MP game.

    • Meanwhile my Steam list is filled with multiplayer only games I haven’t even booted up. Value for money is relative, but unfortunately these games can’t sell you your higher multiplayer hours before you buy it; we all need convincing.

    • I had my lesson with Destiny, (of course I thought there might be a story) now I’m smarter, I don’t care when they hype up games like Paragon, Division, etc. Completely skipped TitanFall, BatleFront etc and am saving a lot of money.

      How cool is it for game publishers, when they don’t have to program AI, get voice acting talent, hire professional writers, not having to worry about narrative structure or pacing and just sell a Point Of Sales application?

      I can’t wait to see these publishers go the way of EVOLVE!

      • As much as people love to give Destiny crap – and I freely admit I think they’ve jumped the shark with later TTK content (microtransactions and sparrow racing) – most people I know have gotten at least a couple hundred hours playtime out of it. That’s not true for everyone, of course, but it’s fairly common. That’s several times more playtime than I get out of most single player games these days.

        I enjoy both types of games – multiplayer only (depending on the genre, of course) as well as single player games. Both seem to fulfill separate/different needs in my gaming habits these days.

        Also, wishing harm upon/or ragging on a publisher for making games you don’t like is a little much.

          • But regardless, it was a new concept that got people’s attention, and most I know got more than their share of value out of it. I know a bunch of people that still play it regularly even now.

            I’ve given it a rest though, TTK was great, but longevity wasn’t so great. The microtransactions, and the subsequent Halloween and Sparrow Racing being all but locked to it really threw me off. But prior to that, I’d wager I played at minimum several hundred hours of it.

          • Yeah I suppose so. I think what I was getting at is, like a lot of stat-driven, loot-filled RPGs, it’s not hard to rack up hours just because the gameplay demands it, rather than being a purely joy of experience kind of thing. 100 hours in Destiny is probably like 40 hours of Zelda – which is still pretty good.

          • It’s definitely engineered for that type of extended loot-driven gameplay, ala Diablo/Borderlands. That’s for sure.

          • Yeah, I got my money’s worth for sure, but there’s no doubt that a pretty disturbing chunk of my hour count was spent struggling in vain to find where the rest of the game was. Hours of chasing the video game dragon to see if the next incremental power boost, the next self-(but not really)-imposed gear objective would yield some kind of feeling of satisfaction. And yes… sort of. Temporarily. That high wore off pretty fast.

        • Yeh destiny has its faults and I’m over it now but I got’s worth ten times over with it. Even ttk gave me a month of full on play for my 70 bucks so did not regret that either tbh

        • Destiny may have made up for it’s lack of content later on, and people like me who were hoping for a lot more upfront (faith in Bungie) helped with a huge player base at the beginning.

          But it’s success did set a dangerous president that other publishers tend to blindly follow without proper reasoning. That kind of ignorance wouldn’t go unpunished weather I liked it or not.

          • I love Destiny. Well, like I said, I’ve taken a break, but I spent a lot of time on that game. Don’t regret any of it, had a blast. I’m just super disturbed at the prospect of one of the most expensive games in history , that’s already had a season pass and one full priced DLC needs microtransactions to sustain itself? Worrisome.

  • I think a lot of people are missing the point of the article. Having a “full price” on a multiplayer game creates a pretty large barrier for entry. Considering that the longevity of the game is directly tied to the activity of its player base it is a pretty big problem. Whats better for a multiplayer only game? 100k active players at a $80 rrp price or 250k players active at a $30 rrp. Supplement their income via cosmetic transactions. Don’t segregate your playerbase by dlc (maps\guns) it’s moronic and shortsighted.

    Having said all that I’m a little biased tho as i feel multiplayer only games have gone to shit – i hate the idea of unlocks via XP. Everyone should be on a level playing field regardless of the amount of hours you’ve sunk into the game – your experience should be your only advantage.

    • Agreed. That is the point, but when the article uses misleading figures, you end up derailing the discussion.

      That said, I agree. However, I would assume these publishers have a pretty good idea on price points and player populations etc. They do think about these things.

      Unlocks have become the cancer of multiplayer games though. I’ve stopped with all battlefield games and most FPS as a result. There’s a reason why people play CS. It’s not because of unlocks.

    • Oh god yes. The amount of one shot kills I’ve been on the receiving end of in battlefront, from equipment that I’m nowhere near close to unlocking is getting nuts.

      Why reward the best or most dedicated players with the most powerful weapons??? Some of them you don’t even have to aim??? Makes no sense. Just pisses noobs off because we’re uncompetitive.

  • The problem with these games is that most of them will be ghost towns in 12months time bar the most popular game modes possibly. When I finally got around to getting Titanfall only Attrition and hard point were the place I could find AUS/NZ players. That wouldn’t have been an issue if it had had an awesome SP campaign to play. essentially with these games if there is no one online you cant play the game now that sucks.

    Maybe if they atleast added Bots so even if someone buys the game down the track they can still actually play it and have some fun with it.

    I think a lot more people would buy these games at a cheaper price for sure.

    • Nothing blew my socks right back onto my feet faster than Titanfall’s ‘single-player’ being ‘let’s pretend it’s not multiplayer’ stages.

      • Yeah, after following Brink’s campaign-related dev diaries for ages, actually getting in and discovering that it was basically a fixed rotation of multiplayer maps with shithouse bots was… sobering to say the least.

    • Titanfall was a little sad, there was actually a really solid game there I had a blast with, but like Evolve, that one died in the arse really quick. Some do. It sucks because there’s no way to forecast it. Sometimes people just get bored, other times all it takes is another new shiny game to lure people away.

  • Multiplayer support is an extra feature I can do without in most games, I will never buy it as a standalone product. I would rather buy a game I know is good for the second time and play through it!

  • And this is why I’m not buying a season pass for battlefront. I don’t mind it, but there’s no way I’m putting more cash down when I have no idea what’s going to be happening in a few months time.

    It is fairly going off at the moment though, which is nice.

  • AI bots. There’s a reason I put hundreds of hours intp UT without ever playing with another human. There’s a reason I keep returning to AirMech and Awesomenauts. There’s a damn good reason why I won’t drop money on a MP-only title when I might get around to it when it’s down to hackers and superhumans as the only remaining playerbase… if there is still a playerbase.

    To paraphrase a popular development trope: A MP-only game with crappy bots can always be modded to have better bots, but a MP-only game with no bots is dead when the next one comes out (which is fine if you’re one of only a few big players ala the heyday of CoD and Halo, but not so good when you’re now competing with dozens and dozens of options in every genre of which half are F2P and others sell for half or a quarter of the price)

    • Not just bots: fun variety bots! Perfect Dark and its different types of ‘Sims’ provided hours of fun and surprises.

      • well my point was that if a framework for bots is at least there in the first place, then crappy ones can be modded and improved by fans, like with the improved unit and nuke use in Total Annihilation, or those experimental AI bots which used other applications as a basis for behaviours. Good bots from the start are of course the ideal, but even the dodgy ones mean that fans aren’t completely locked out of keeping things running once it’s abandoned by the publisher. (and it means that all the work for map construction and art hasn’t been wasted – it always annoyed me that Tomb Raider sounded like it had decent MP bolted on but there was no way to make use of it because there were no players, or SkyDrift where a lack of splitscreen and deathmatch bots made half the DLC completely worthless from the beginning)

        Personally I’m a fan of systems like some of the UT games which give you a lot of fine control over if bots are aggressive or defensive or have an affinity for particular weapons. (aside from that UT2k4 issue of them all sniping from beyond the draw distance before they got a good patching)

  • Have 300 hours played with Destiny. 40 hours with Star Wars Battlefront at the moment and have bought the season pass. I can see myself playing it on the PS4 for a long time. If I get 100 hours out of it I will think that is money well spent.

    The biggest concerns with multi-player games in Australia is the ghost town lobbies after six months or a year. I enjoyed Evolve but uninstalled it because I could never find a game. Some niche games I would be worried about but if you get 100 hours in the first three months then you should be ok with value for money.

    If you go in to multiplayer games with the understanding that there are diminishing returns the longer the game is out then you should be fine. I don’t see the point in not buying a game worrying about the potential user base in 12-18 months. If you did that all the time you would never play anything apart from single player games.

    Bots are a solution but only for certain games. They were dull in Evolve as half the fun was outsmarting the humans and tricking them into going the wrong way. The bots never seemed to do that. Star Wars Battlefront however, I could see myself playing with bots as it is more casual and frenetic. It would silence a lot of the naysayers if it put in fighter squadron and Supremacy bot modes.

    • This.
      Private servers would be a great option, but devs & publishers don’t want people to not buy the next release.

  • Don’t forget the lack of dedicated (and client-run) servers these days. It’s way less encouraging to pay a premium on these multiplayer-only games when that value can’t even be delivered years down the line thanks to the publishers abandoning them.

  • Depends how good the game is I guess. Let’s be honest, as gamers these days, we have a massive buffet of choice, particularly when it comes to multiplayer shooters – COD, Destiny, CS, TF2, Evolve, Titanfall, Battlefront, Battlefield and tons more. Can it survive in the climate? Probably not, with that price point model. From all accounts, Titanfall and Evolve dropped off so dramatically that it wouldn’t surprise me if their servers shut down in the next year or two. I guess we’ll see if it gains the player base that sticks around – I doubt it though.

    Interestingly, the same can be said for all these MOBA’s coming out. So many of them are going to flounder. Paragon, Battleborn, Gigantic… A ton more I can’t even remember.

    Conversely, single player games with stories find their audiences. While Titanfall can’t stand against the crazy amount of shooters, small niche JRPG’s can do fine alongside The Witcher, Dragon Age, Skyrim etc. because you can come to them whenever you want to without that worry of others not playing it.

    • Yeah, single-player games would be absolutely shithouse too if you could only play them at specific times of day when everyone else who plays them agrees to be on at the same time, and even then only if enough from your country with reasonable latency also agree to get involved, and only if the game studio’s servers were online.

  • The part that gets me is they make this huge song and dance routine that not having a single player campaign or story component will allow them the focus on the multiplayer… but that sacrifice doesnt show up as extra content or something completely different and awesome. The latest multiplayer only seem to be sacrificing single player to the executive gods not for any mark improvement of the game. Its wierd that some of the best multiplayer games (in variety, content, replayability, unique mechanics) out there are either free-2-play or part of larger titles.

    Any extra content they do produce from this sacrifice just seems to go straight into DLC or Season Passes, after they rush the game to market based on a deadline decided by a pen pusher not a developer.

    Sacrificing single player and campaigns, needs to have rewards to the player, else every multiplayer will devolve into ghosttowns of hardcore fanatics.

  • “By god, he’s right! We shouldn’t be charging $60 for these games, they should cost $90!”
    At least that’s how I think they think this through, those asshats.

  • Discuss and talk all you want – the only way you can send the publishers a message is by voting with your wallet. Your objections are completely nullified if you paid for the game.

    A game should be whatever it is worth – if it’s an amazing single player only game with either a long campaign/other single player mode or high replay value than sure it might be worth $60 on release.

    Similarly if is multiplayer only and offers $60 of value on release through many maps, game modes, or anything that supports that high quality and enduring multiplayer experience then it’s worth that amount.

    When Titanfall came out I didn’t buy it instantly but I did eventually buy it at the standard edition full price. After a couple hours of playing it was very evident that it wasn’t worth the price tag and I had requested EA to refund it. When the game was then selling at half it’s release price it became tempting but still not enough to sway.

    EA’s refund policy is actually pretty decent when compared to other distributors but it still needs to provide more time for a judgement to be made by most people. Alternatively it would be good to submit a cost dispute where people could have a partial refund – essentially paying what they consider to be the actual value of the game. Sweet dreams on that one though.

    TLDR – vote with your wallet; if you’re playing a F2P game don’t be a typical aussie tight arse and put some money towards the game. It’s not just a +1 to the developer and publisher; it’s a +1 telling other publishers out there that the F2P model is viable if not superior (and generally speaking I believe there is good evidence that for both consumers and publishers that shows a good F2P as superior over conventional pay to play).

  • You’ve not done your research for this article. Stellar reporting as usual. You report $40 as being required to not fracture the map community. This shows you’ve not bothered to look into the DLC model for R6:S at all.

    Somehow you’re ok with a game like COD where only 5% of the community ever finish the single player campaign. Clearly 95% of the cod playing community disagree with you about there being value in a full priced multiplayer title.

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